After School Power Struggles - FamilyEducation
After School Power Struggles
02/20/2008 at 17:52 PM

I have a five year old son and we have been dealing with major after school power struggles.  I have made so many excuses for him to justify why he is acting out...he is tired after school, he is hungry, he wants my attention...but he can't be THAT tired or hungry and he's an only child so he gets a lot of attention.  Here's what happens.  We come home from school and all is well for a few minutes. Then he throws himself down and howls...he wants pj's on and food and a drink, etc.  I try to stay calm and I anticipate this same fight every day but I refuse to have a tray of snacks and pj's waiting for him because he's not royalty.  So even if we work through these "mini" demands it'll escalate to something like "You aren't giving me rest!  Can't you give me rest?  You're the meanest mom ever!"  And i get mad because I want him to respect me...and it's a mess.  Right now we are having a battle because he wants me to help him put pj's on and I won't and he is SCREAMING "You won't help me." over and over.  Now his legs don't work and he can't walk and I'm mean because I won't help him.  He's been asking me and crying for 1 1/2 hours and I came to you guys for help because I'm in my room trying not to spank him...and I need help.  Thanks!

I know a little girl whose blood sugar is quite erratic. She's not diabetic, it is just that her blood sugar drops and her brain kind of stops working.  I would try giving him snacks (crackers or fruit and cheese) and a drink of water as he comes out of the school building.  That little girl I spoke of, we didn't figure out it was her blood sugar until her tantrums went away and she just started trembling.  Boy did we feel dumb!


Thanks.  I'll try anything at this point.  That is a very good idea.  He has breakfast, a snack at school and lunch at 12, but he may be crashing by 3.  I hope the answer is as easy as that! 


Yiour son is angry because you are not controlling him. You must be the boss as you well know. There are several loving ways to establish control by using your voice and avoiding punishment which elicits payback. When he says, "You are the meanest mom ever" order him to "say it like you mean it". When he does repeat the angry words, reward him by saying , "Good! Now say it like you REALLY mean it." He will usually refuse to obey you because he becomes aware that he is obeying you. Children with control problems are terrified they will be abandoned. Tell him he is stuck with you and you are his Mom for all eternity. He can't get away from you. Tell him that you want him to live with you forever. Also talk about what you and he will do in the future such as "on Easter we are going to go to Grandma's etc.  Gerald E. Nelson


My two cent's worth: Kids like to feel secure and feel that their parents are in control of things and that they make the world a nice, safe place. Your son doesn't feel that so much because he's controlling your reactions. He can make you angry and frustrated and at the end of your rope all within an hour and half. He's probably wondering how well you'd do taking on the world for him. He wants to feel that you are in CHARGE and have the world at bay. When you start screaming like another kid he's lost that security. I suggest that you take a five minute chill in the bathroom, take a few deep breaths, stop screaming, and realize that it will get worse before it gets better. Ever see SuperNanny? Don't give in even if it means two or three hours of repetition. He knows how to push your buttons and you have to dig waaaay down deep and take on the challenge of being THE PARENT WHO CAN CONQUER ALL. Become a drone. "Yes, please put your pants on. When you have them on you may join me for a snack. I'll be in the kitchen." Say it over and over and over. Be polite, be firm, be positive. Never give in. Know that this will take several days to change. This behaviour works for him and that is why he is doing it. He'll do it for as long as it works then he'll do something different. "Would you like to change first or have a snack first?" Be monotonous. And google Love and Logic. I had an only for ten years, it is hard for them to realize the world has other people in it. I know, I am an only as well. The great side to that is that there are no other kids interrupting and causing a distraction to your focus. Keep at it, and you WILL see a change. Kids sense weakness. If you demonstrate weakness, go to the bathroom and take another chill. Good luck, it sounds like you have a really smart little guy who is just eager to spend some quality time with his in charge parent. Enjoy him!